Two injured in Sterecycle plant ‘explosion’

Two people are injured after an “explosion” at Sterecycle’s CHP Rotherham plant.

A police spokesman said: “Initial reports suggest a pressure vessel has exploded and two people have been injured.”

This may be a pipe or valve failure, or perhaps failure of the door seal leading to massive release of superheated steam. Failure of the main vessel is less likely, though not impossible – time will tell. Either way, the pressure vessel regulations and a whole host of H&S legislation will apply and no doubt HSE, EA and others will be crawling over the site to discover the cause. Someone will have some tough questions to answer.

 Though not used for clinical waste, this autoclave has many features in common and there will be lessons for everyone who operates a pressure vessel system.

This Templeborough plant is claimed to be the world’s first commercial autoclave waste treatment facility utilising autoclaving steam technology to process black bag waste and allow recovery of recyclables and energy in the form of an organic biomass.

Though news reports suggests that two people are seriously injured we hope that it isn’t quite that bad and that they recover quickly.

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